Trim the Fat: 5 small steps for staying the course

Maria Hoover, SBJ Features EditorWeight change: +0.4 Total: -10.6

Three months into this yearlong health-improvement endeavor, I find that my initial enthusiasm is waning.
I felt a little better after learning from the folks at the University of Missouri Extension office that this is typically the time of year when people begin giving up on their New Year’s resolutions.

Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist, has put together five easy steps for making big nutritional and health changes, and they’re a pretty good motivator.
Roberts notes in a news release that what’s important is to stick with the goal, and the small steps she recommends are aimed at helping people do that.

Here are Roberts’ recommendations for achieving better health in 2009.

No. 1: Pay attention to the calories in what you drink. According to a Tuft’s University publication, Americans get about one-fifth of their daily calories from what they drink. Though Roberts recommends fat-free and sugar free drinks, I don’t think the fact that my preferred drink is diet soda gets me off the hook altogether. Roberts says milk is necessary for calcium, but since the liquid is what we really need from drinks, there’s no beating water, which has no calories.

No. 2: Fill up on a variety of fruits and vegetables. OK, so the need for fruits and veggies in a balanced diet isn’t new – but I did learn something nonetheless. Roberts says people who consume four and a half cups of fruits and vegetables daily are less likely to be obese than those who don’t. So maybe an apple a day – and then some – is a good change to make.

No. 3: Be physically active. Again, no surprise here. Roberts recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. And she says if time’s a factor, it’s OK to exercise in 10-minute increments throughout the day.

No. 4: Eat breakfast. Apparently the moms of the world who say breakfast is the most important meal of the day are onto something. Eating in the morning can get the body going for the day and help control hunger, so what have we got to lose (except those excess pounds and physical limitations, maybe?)

No. 5: Be a smart snacker. This is a tough one for me, as my sweet tooth kicks in midafternoon on most days. Snack foods can be full of fat and calories and lacking in the nutrition department, but Roberts recommends fruits and vegetables that can be filling without too many calories. (Come to think of it, fruit is sweet, too, so maybe that can help with the sugar cravings).

I’m going to put this list in my purse, on my refrigerator and on my desk, and work for the next several weeks at taking these steps. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Weekly update: I’m actually running a bit behind on the weigh-ins, but I seem to be stuck in a holding pattern in the 10- and 11-pound range. With more daylight after 5 p.m., however, I’m hoping to start getting out and about for exercise more in the evening hours. And I’m going to take Roberts’ advice and hang in there.

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1 Response to “Trim the Fat: 5 small steps for staying the course”


  1. 1 Steve Whitfield March 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the update. I have experienced job loss (October), job search (November – January), and the start of a new business partnership (February – March).

    What great excuses for poor eating habits! I have been committing to myself for all of this time to better regulate my intake while re-starting my walking regimen.

    Your notes here have spurred me to get started ASAP. My partner told me earlier this week that he would like to work as partners for a long time and encouraged me to take care of myself!

    Keep the efforts and know that someone else is out here following your progress while pursuing my own changes!

    Steve Whitfield


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